Rob Roy Way was inaugurated as an official Great Trail, in 2012 and is one of the newest additions to Scotland’s great walks. Although many Scottish walks have been designed by individuals, Rob Roy Way is the only long distance walk, to have been devised by two walking enthusiasts – Jaquetta Megarry and John Henderson.
This is a linear walk that covers a distance of 92 miles (148km). The walk is named after the infamous Scotsman Rob Roy MacGregor, who no doubt trod the paths and walked through the forests of the Trossachs, during the 17th and 18th centuries. He spent almost his entire life as an outlaw and he was a Jacobite and supporter of King James II. He is buried at Balquhidder Church, in the village of Balquhidder, a few miles from Lochearnhead and 10 miles from Killin.
Rob Roy Way is popular with walkers who enjoy a real sense of tranquillity whilst they are walking. This route follows the Jacobean history of Rob Roy’s time, passing ancient aqueducts, the old railway lines, the Loch Katrine Water scheme and the Glen Ogle viaduct. There is an abundance of wildlife to be admired and some picturesque villages to visit.
Rob Roy Way 7 Day Plan
The walk starts at Drymen, which is a pretty village. It has a rich history including an 18th century church and the remains of Buchanan Castle, which was owned by Rob Roy’s arch enemy the Duke of Montrose. It is also home to one of Scotland’s oldest pubs, The Clachan Inn, which was established in 1784 and the first licensee was Mistress Gow, one of Rob Roy’s sisters.
Pitlochry, at the end of the walk is a popular tourist location. It has excellent transport links, including the Edinburgh to Inverness and Glasgow railway routes and the main A9 trunk road. It is known as the gateway to the Highlands and it is an attractive town with plenty to see and do. Visit Edradour Distillery, which is Scotland’s smallest distillery and the last one to produce malt whisky in limited quantities that has been hand crafted.
Drymen is easy to get to, and international travellers can come in to Glasgow International Airport, which is only 20 miles away, or from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is 49 miles from Drymen, or, Edinburgh Airport which is 54 miles away on the east coast. Buses leave from Buchannan Street, which is the main Bus Station in Glasgow town centre.
Pitlochry is served by rail and road- Trains can take you up to Inverness, into Edinburgh or Glasgow and even into London. Buses too, travel to the same destinations as the trains, but there are local services as well, which can take you to nearby towns and villages.
There is some road walking, which may require cushioned shoes and there are some hilly climbs, but it is not an arduous walk. Someone who has never taken part in a great walk before, might find some parts of it challenging, but on the whole it is an easy to moderate route, which all levels of walkers can enjoy.
Unfortunately, the weather in Scotland can’t be guaranteed whatever the season. However, in May, June, and September are the best months of the year for walking because they tend to be dry months, with plenty of daylight. Whilst July and August have more sunshine and longer days, it is peak holiday season and there are more people and less availability for accommodation. There isn’t a lot of shade either on this walk, so walkers may be exposed to the sunlight for the whole day.
Winter walking is still pleasant, especially in the autumn months of October and November, when the colours of the countryside are spectacular. However, daylight hours are limited, which will affect the length of time you are able to walk and mist and low cloud might spoil the views and make the route difficult to follow. It is advisable to purchase water proof maps if you intend walking during the winter months.
Dogs can accompany walkers on the Rob Roy Way route, but they must be on a lead at all times and be controlled, especially around sites like Brae Farm, which has livestock. During the months between April and June, there are also ground nesting birds and mammals, which may be disturbed by dogs, so this should be borne in mind if you a walking during this period. Some of the ladder styles on the Rob Roy Way are high and may be difficult to climb whilst holding a dog. Any mess made by a dog should be scooped up and disposed of in the appropriate place.
This walk will take seven days to complete, although if you want to cut it to six, you can start at Aberfoyle, rather than Drymen. There is accommodation to suit all budgets, along the route and many of the hotels offer a luggage transfer service.
If you are fit and you enjoy cycling as well as walking, you can take part in the Rob Roy Challenge, which is held every June to raise money for various charitable causes. There are three challenges:
Bronze: Walk or run 16 miles from Drymen to Callander.
Silver: Complete a 38 mile route from Drymen to Killen. Walk or run the first 16 miles to Callander and then hop on your bike for the 22 mile trip to Killin.
Gold: Walk or run 16 miles to Callander and then take your bike for a further 39 miles, finishing up in the village of Kenmore, a total of 55 miles.